By Merle Exit
Theatre by the Bay is celebrating its 15th anniversary in style with its production, “Beau Jest.”
The show is a romantic comedy that revolves around Sarah Goldman (Nili Resnick), a kindergarten teacher who is a “nice Jewish girl” and whose parents want her to marry to a “nice Jewish boy.”
They are about to meet her boyfriend, a WASP executive named Chris Kringle (Kyle T. Cheng). Sarah tells her parents that she is dating a Jewish doctor, and they insist on meeting him. She plans a dinner party and employs an escort service to send her a Jewish date to portray Dr. David Steinberg.
Instead, they send Bob Schroeder (Stephen Kalogeres), an aspiring actor who agrees to the ruse. Bob’s performance at the dinner party is extremely convincing, and Sarah’s parents are enamored. Sarah has a decision to make: stay with Chris, or try to get closer to Bob.
Director Patrice Valenti, making her Theatre by the Bay debut, doesn’t disappoint. Though Theatre by the Bay has a reputation for musicals, a well-chosen cast highlights this funny and entertaining play, written by James Sherman.
It’s clear that both Resnick and Kalogeres have prior acting experience, both remaining in character at all times. Kalogeres was surprisingly exceptional, considering that he hasn’t acted in four years.
Chris, wanting to please Sarah, is in on the deception. Although Cheng seems a bit rigid in his role, he perks up when his character goes face to face with Bob.
One of the main scenes revolves around a dinner-time Passover seder. Having experience with the holiday, I was able to both understand the rituals as well as the humor involved in the scene. For instance, the father wanted to get through the Haggadah as quickly as possible so he could eat and enjoy the mandatory four cups of wine. Sherman’s script called for the prayers being cited in Hebrew. However, there was a one-line introduction for each prayer to help out those who have never attended a seder.
“Beau Jest” is certainly worth attending and there’s still time to catch a show. There is a performance scheduled for Saturday evening at 8:30 p.m. and Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m.
The show is being held at Bay Terrace Garden Jewish Center, located at 13-00 209th St. in Bayside.
Tickets are $22 for adults and $20 for seniors (ages 62 and older) and children (ages 12 and under).
For more information or to purchase your seats, call (718) 428-6363, or visit www.theatrebythebayny.com.